Covid in Wales: Face mask mandate kept in health and care settings
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The measure was one of the last restrictions kept in the previous three-weekly review of Covid rules.

Workplaces were allowed to drop Covid precautions on 18 April, after most regulations were eased in March.

Mark Drakeford said keeping masks in heath settings would help protect the most vulnerable.

“There are steps we can all take to protect ourselves while coronavirus is still circulating and reduce the spread of the virus even further,” Mr Drakeford said.

“This is particularly true in places where some of the most vulnerable people in society are being treated and live, which is why we will retain the legal requirement to wear face coverings in health and social care settings.”

Wales remains at alert level zero, the lowest tier of Covid rules, with few restrictions to daily life remaining in place.

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The first minister said the public health situation was improving following the recent spike in cases caused by the BA.2 sub-type of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

But he said the relatively high Covid case rate meant keeping the last remaining mask mandate.

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Swansea Bay University Health Board said it supported the decision to keep face masks in health settings.

Its director of public health, Dr Keith Reid, said: “The pandemic is not over and we have to remember what’s going on in the health system at the moment.

“In Swansea health board we still have four wards worth of patients acutely ill with Covid in our hospitals and about a fifth of our intensive care unit beds, so Covid is still very much part of day-to-day hospital business.

“This measure keeps patients and staff safe. Hospitals are different. You don’t go to the supermarket for a hip operation or go to the pub to give birth.

“So this is about protecting the most vulnerable people in a very specific setting.”

While workplace rules are no longer a legal requirement, firms are still required to carry out risk assessments,

And even though self-isolating is no longer a legal requirement, the first minister is urging people to do so if they feel ill or test positive for Covid.

Mr Drakeford is also recommending that people wear a face covering in crowded indoor places, meet outdoors wherever possible, and keep their Covid vaccinations up to date.

“The pandemic isn’t over, but we are seeing encouraging signs the recent high levels of infections across Wales are falling,” he said.

“If you have Covid symptoms or test positive, please stay at home and help break the chain of transmission.

“Together, we can carry on keeping each other safe and keeping Wales safe.”

The next three-weekly review of coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 26 May.

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